The jury in the continuing trial of dental nurse Ravinder Kaur were told today how her boss, Laura Knowles, suffered from seizures and was admitted to hospital three days after being poisoned.
Kaur, 34, of Ettrick Drive, Bedford, is accused of ‘administering a poisonous or noxious substance with intent’, a charge which she denies.
According to the prosecution, following two disciplinary warnings Kaur poisoned a cup of coffee she had made for Ms Knowles with amalgam - a substance used in dental fillings - while working at Shams Moopen Dental Practice in Shefford medical centre.
Giving evidence at Blackfriars Crown Court, 36 year old practice manager Knowles told the jury that the following weekend, she suffered from bouts of dizziness, diarrhoea and vomiting, which she attributed to the amalgam in her system.
After returning to work on the Monday, she was subsequently admitted to hospital after having a seizure. However, Rupert Bowers, defending, claimed this seizure was “the type people suffer when they have an epileptic fit”.
Under cross examination, she conceded that despite blaming her symptoms on the amalgam, she still has “no knowledge whatsoever” about the consequences of ingesting the substance.
She claimed in court that the it wasn't the pain and sickness which affected her the most, but the hurt she felt following the alleged incident.
"I was distraught the whole day and beyond", she said.
Under defence questioning, Ms Knowles painted a picture of a workplace which was "less than harmonious" with Ms Kaur refusing to work with one dentist and another dentist asking not to be assisted by the defendant.
Ms Knowles described a culture where colleagues complained about each other with weekly regularity and that “general sniping” was commonplace.
The situation “had deteriorated so badly, it was affecting patients coming into the surgery”, she claimed.
Practice owner, Dr Shams Moopen, even spoke to Knowles about “disharmony within the practice” and how staff must “behave more appropriately”. He had also met with her following a complaint from another dental nurse to discuss the “preferential treatment” she allegedly showed towards the defendant.
Describing her relationship with Ms Kaur, the practice manager said she “considered (herself) Ravi’s friend and mentor.”
She went on to say that the practice owner had issued Kaur with a written final warning following a disciplinary meeting on 13 March which he subsequently withdrew 16 days later with an apology. This letter had claimed that the defendant had “disrupted the smooth running of the surgery” due to “serious disagreements” with other surgery staff.
The letter also suggested that Ms Kaur had left a patient in a dentist chair while she went to have lunch and warned that any future misconduct could result in her dismissal.
The case continues.